For my birthday this year, I was blessed with a lovely down week. Monday we celebrated Memorial Day as we have every year for the past 5 years; with the Memorial Day Murph workout at the CrossFit box. I want to share more about the workout in just a bit. I only worked Tuesday and Wednesday, and took Thursday and Friday off for my birthday. It was so refreshing to have such a short work week. One of my favorite running partners had scheduled her wedding this weekend, and I’m so bummed that she had to post-pone for several months due to COVID-19. Strange times we are living in, but I’m looking forward to meeting up with her in California in August (hopefully).
Since our state is slowly reopening, my mom decided to come down this week to visit her twin sister and me. We joined them at a Hyatt Resort here in town, and had a great overnight staycation. The resort had minimal bookings, and it felt like we had the pool and lazy river mostly to ourselves for the majority of the stay, which was really nice. We went down a water slide a couple hundred times, floated around a lazy river, and enjoyed a couple of days of sun, relaxation, and minimal screens. The property is about 15 minutes from where we live, but it was a nice change of scenery.
We had birthday bundt cupcakes on Thursday, and a really nice dinner together. On Friday, I went for a great run on the property, and my son had a little boogie boarding lesson. It was so cute watching him learn, and recognizing how brave he is becoming. We had an amazing brunch at the resort, and spent a few more hours floating around the pool before heading home. I cannot recommend a good staycation highly enough. There’s minimal stress, packing, and the vacation hangover is nearly non-existent. Plus it doesn’t suck being able to spend a little more time hanging out after check out, since there isn’t a long drive home to contend with.
Saturday was a shorter long run for me, with 13.1 trail miles. My husband and I watched the riots happening in Atlanta on Friday evening, and the issues in the nation right now weigh so heavy. We had a hard conversation with our son about racism, and it wasn’t lost on me at that at nearly 7 years old we are fortunate that we haven’t felt like we needed to have the conversation earlier in his life for his own protection. I can only imagine the conversations that take place in other homes with much younger children about how to respond to police officers and navigate a world that can be so hostile. The half-marathon was definitely what I needed to process what we watched, and I thought a lot about Arbery, Floyd, and Taylor during those 13 miles.
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I don’t have anything profound to say on the topic, other than as a person of color I hope we move forward as a country. In 2020 it just so unacceptable that anyone would be cavalier with another humans life for any reason, especially race.
Memorial Day Murph
Every year, CrossFitters across the country complete the Memorial Day Murph workout. For those who are not familiar, it is a Hero WOD. CrossFit has strong ties to military and first responder community, and there are several workouts that are done in honor and memory of those who have passed away serving their country. They are incredibly special, hard, and moving workouts. Murph is probably one of most well known Hero WODs.
It is meant to be done in honor of Lt. Michael Murphy who was killed in combat June 28, 2005. Beyond the Whiteboard has a great post on the backstory of Murph, and why it is so special. But I’m going to give a quick overview. A lot of Americans are familiar with Michael Murphy because of the movie Lone Survivor. The movie covers how Michael Murphy moved into an open area in the middle of active fire to call for help to save his team of Navy Seals. He left the protection of the mountain range where the team was located, called for help, and completed the call giving his teams location, despite being shot during the call itself. The call was successful, but Michael Murphy was killed in battle.
Michael Murphy’s CrossFit workout of choice was then named after him, and every year it is completed on Memorial Day as a tribute to his selfless courage. Knowing the background makes it a very special workout. The prescribed workout is a one mile run followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 air squats, with one more mile of running to conclude. To do the workout as prescribed, CrossFitters wear a 20lb vest. While you have to start and end with the run, the middle section can be broken up any way you want.
There’s several popular ways to break up the middle, but “Cindy” is probably the most popular. It is 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats. CrossFitters also have the option to scale as needed, either using a band, doing a half-murph, completing it with a partner, etc. The important part is to do the workout in a way that is difficult, but completable.
I’ve done the Murph for the past 5 years, and I’ve done it in a number of ways. My first year, I completed the workout without a vest, and I broke up the middle into 10 rounds. It was my first year that I had gotten pull-ups down, I ripped my hands, and I felt amazing that I finished. Over the next couple of years I have worn weight vests in increasing weights up to last years weight of 14lbs. Most years I’ve broken the middle up with 20 rounds of Cindy.
This year, I decided to ditch the vest since I hadn’t been doing pull-ups for the last couple of months. My focus this year was on completing the workout, and being grateful that I was able to workout in a box, with my friends. Considering how the past several months have been, I definitely wasn’t sure if Murph was going to happen this year. I had mentally prepared myself to do it solo, but I was thankful to do it with my box.
It’s a hard workout. It takes a lot of endurance and determination. The movements speak to my personal strengths as an endurance athlete, and it is still a hard for one me. It usually takes me a little over an hour to finish, and I always have a few moments where I contemplate calling it. But I look around the box, see everyone else suffering together, and remember who it honors. I take a break, have a sip of beer, and keep moving. It’s something I look forward to every year, because it really unites the CrossFit community, and I think it’s a great way to honor Memorial Day.
If you ever have an opportunity to participate in a Memorial Day Murph, I really encourage you to consider. Most CrossFit boxes are more than open to hosting drop-ins for this workout, and it is usually a fun event. I’ve had friends come out, cheer, and have a couple of post-murph beers throughout the years. It’s a great atmosphere, and everyone is welcome to join in the pain or just support those of us who are crazy enough to do it ourselves.
Related Post: How CrossFit Has Made Me a Better Runner
This Weeks Workouts
Total Miles: 53.6
Total Workouts: 4
50 Mile Ultra-Marathon, Week 1
How the Runs Felt
This was my first week following a 50 mile training plan, and it feels good to be back on a more structured program. I’m easing into training, so I started out with a lower mileage week, which was definitely needed. I didn’t have to split any of my runs this week, since I had 3 days off work and some lower mileage. Sunday was trail miles at the wilderness preserve near our home. I thought about getting back on the trails for Monday’s run, but wanted to take it easy since I had the Murph workout a few hours after.
Wednesday was my first pace-related workout in a couple of months, but it was fairly tame. 1 mile warm, 6 miles at a steady but not “easy” pace, and 1 mile cool down. My easy pace is usually between a 9 and 9:30 minute mile, so I decided to shoot for 8:20 for the steady miles. 8:20 isn’t super challenging, but it also takes some effort to sustain. I felt really good during the workout, and it was honestly kind of nice to challenge myself a little bit. I ran out at the wilderness center for my birthday miles, and really enjoyed my morning on the trails.
On Friday morning, I ran a few miles on the resort property. One of the things I love most about running is that I have been able to run in so many beautiful places, and this week was certainly no exception. It’s always fun and exciting to see new places on foot, and to take in different settings and surroundings. Even though the resort is only 15 minutes away from where we live, the landscape is different and it’s always refreshing to be out in nature.
I wrapped up the week the same way I started it. With a great run on the wilderness trails near our home. I was so thankful to have logged so many trail miles this week. I know I won’t always have this much of an opportunity because of time constraints, so I’m just trying to squeeze in as much as possible when I have the chance. My first week of 50 mile training was a success, and I’m looking forward to the journey.
What I’ve Been Listening To
This week I was introduced to a new true crime podcast; Morbid. It’s hosted by two women who occasionally have guest hosts. It gives a humorous in-depth look at different true crimes, and so far I am really liking it. I also started listening to Hope in Darkness, which covers the story of a US man who was wrongly accused and held in a Venezuelan prison for a very extended period of time. It has been so interesting to hear how this happened, and how there is so much strife in different parts of the world that we could all be more mindful about.
How the WODs felt
My second week in the box was also a success. I had a lot of fun on Monday completing the Murph workout. A lot of people hate this workout, but I honestly think it speaks to a lot of my strengths. I worked out at the box on Wednesday, worked out at home on Thursday, and then back at the box Friday evening. Thursday I wanted to be able to get out to the resort as quickly as possible, so it made the most sense for me to workout at home. Friday’s workout was probably the roughest WOD I’ve had in a long time. It was tough just because of how it was written, but after being in the sun for most of the morning, I was feeling pretty worn out afterwards. But I’m still so grateful that I’ve been able to workout in the box again.
What Went Well
My first week of 50 mile training was great. I got on the trails, I had a good workout, and I felt good overall. I’m so happy that I was able to balance out all of the training with a fun weekend with my boys. I’m thankful to have more time with a barbell in my hands, and I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to feeling really strong in the box.
What Went Shitty
All of the civil unrest that has taken place this week has weighed heavily on me. And I know the body interprets all stress the same, so even though I had less work stress, I know I was not feeling relaxed. It’s definitely been difficult to make sure I am taking care of myself emotionally. It seems like 2020 has thrown us one curveball after another, and just as COVID-19 seems like it might be declining, this emotionally charged issue comes to a head. It’s been a lot to process.
Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week I plan to keep focusing in my training and make sure that I take my time to find moments of calm.